Gooding Jr. pleads not guilty to groping

UPDATE at 1:10 PM | OSCAR winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. has been released after being arraigned in a US court on charges he groped a woman at a New York City night spot.

The 51-year-old star of “Jerry Maguire” denies the allegations and pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges.

He was released after about six hours in police custody.

A 29-year-old woman told police that Gooding placed his hand on her breast and squeezed it without her consent at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge. The woman said she believed Gooding was intoxicated.

Video obtained by TMZ appears to show Gooding putting his hand on or near a woman’s leg and breast as they sit on a couch with another woman between them.

Gooding is then seen pulling the woman’s hand to his lips, as if to kiss it, and leaning toward her before another man steps up and talks with them.

The video could be key evidence for prosecutors, but Gooding’s lawyer said the footage showed “not the slightest scintilla of inappropriate conduct” and will exonerate him.

Lawyer Mark Heller said he doubted the accuser would show up for court hearings and suggested that prosecutors should charge her with perjury if she testified in court and her allegations were contradicted by video.

Gooding had his hands cuffed behind his back for part of the proceedings.

A conviction could put him behind bars for up to a year.

Heller also disputed allegations in media reports that a second woman said to have come forward in recent days claims Gooding grabbed her buttocks at a New York City restaurant in 2008.

“There is no pattern of conduct,” Heller said. “It is not uncommon for people to come out of the woodwork when these things happen.”

© PAA 2019

FIRST at 7:00 AM | Actor Cuba Gooding Jr has been arrested and charged with forcible touching after a woman accused him of groping her at a Manhattan bar last weekend, New York City police said.

The “Jerry Maguire” actor was charged after reporting to police on Thursday, the New York Police Department public affairs office said.

He faces one misdemeanor account of forcible touching in an incident that occurred on Sunday.

Gooding has denied the accusation, which was made by an unidentified woman who said Gooding touched her breasts at the bar on Sunday night.

Gooding‘s lawyer, Mark Heller, said security video from Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge showed no criminality on his part and will exonerate him.

“There is not the slightest scintilla of inappropriate conduct on his part,” Mr Heller said.

After reviewing the security video, Mr Heller said he was hesitant to let Gooding surrender but decided to go through with it.

He said he was surprised police and prosecutors were moving forward with the case.

Gooding won the Academy Award for best supporting actor in 1997 for his portrayal of an athlete in the film “Jerry Maguire.”

In 2016, he was nominated for an Emmy for playing O.J. Simpson in the miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

© PAA 2019

Gold Coasters urged to donate to help the city’s homeless

Gold Coasters are being encouraged to donate goods to help the growing number of the city’s homeless ahead of the annual Gold Coast Homeless Connect.

According to the last Census, more than 1700 people are believed to be homeless on the Gold Coast, and over 220 of those are sleeping rough.

Gold Coast Homeless Connect is now in its 12th year with the event taking place at Metricon Stadium on August 7.

The event is a one-stop shop providing free goods and services to the city’s homeless including health and wellbeing, legal advice, counselling and housing services.

Those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are even offered free haircuts, manicures and vaccinations for their pets.

Gold Coast residents are asked to donate clothing, toiletries and non-perishable food and food vouchers ahead of this year’s event.

Gold Coast Homeless Connect chairperson Mona Nielsen said the donations will help give a boost to the some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“The donations received during the drive make a huge difference to our guests on the day – for many, food, clothing, shoes, toiletries, support information and someone to chat to regarding their individual needs, is what they need to take a step towards the life they are looking for,” Ms Nielsen said.

Jason Cubit, CEO of social and affordable housing provider Horizon Housing

“Many of us take things like clothing, shoes, blankets, and toiletries for granted, but for some, these everyday items just aren’t accessible,” Mr Cubit said.

“These donations can make a big change and provide some comfort and a much needed helping hand.”

Donations for the 12th annual Gold Coast Homeless Connect event are now open and can be dropped off at collection points across the Coast, including the Horizon Housing office in Robina and Metricon Stadium in Carrara.

Uber Air coming to Australia

Australians are getting one step closer to travelling by drone, with the announcement that Uber Air is coming to Melbourne.

It’s the third city in the world to trial the air travel ride share service – behind Dallas and Los Angeles, with test flights to begin next year.

The drone-like technology will operate like a helicopter – in that they can take off and land vertically – but they will be fully electric and computer operated.

They’ll reportedly cost about the same as Uber X vehicles to rent, per distance travelled.

It’s hoped the program will be fully operational once more research and development is carried out.

“The biggest hurdle to drones carrying people is safety.

“The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has been very progressive trialling drone technology and there are a number of drone trials happening in suburban Australia including Google’s Project Wing to deliver food, drinks and medication.

“But we need to prove to people that this technology can be as safe as helicopters, which regularly fly in our cities,” said Dr Matthew Marino – an aerospace engineer at RMIT.

The new technology, while exciting, is also raising questions over how it will be used and whether it will actually help manage urban transport problems.

Dr Chris De Gruyter from RMIT seems skeptical that the helicopter-like services could help with smaller trips around metripolitan Melbourne – given that more than half of ride share trips a day are less than 5km.

“Based on what travel survey data tells us, we might see skyports at key activity centres and employment hubs like the airport, Melbourne CBD and other key precincts like Clayton or Dandenong.

“But Uber Air isn’t going to help with managing our urban transport problems.

“These vehicles are very low capacity – similar to what a car could carry – while there are also questions about if these vehicles will create visual clutter in the sky and how environmentally-friendly they are.

“Another risk is ‘empty running’, where there are no passengers, but the vehicle has to travel to pick people up from another location,” Dr De Gruyter said.

Find out more in Uber’s explanatory video below.

NYPD

One dead after helicopter crashed into New York building

At least one person has been killed after a helicopter crashed into a sky scraper in New York.

The aircraft reportedly crashed on the roof of a building at 787 Seventh Avenue on 51st street, and burst into flames.

It’s believed the pilot was trying to make an emergency landing after losing control.

Sadly, the pilot was pronounced dead at the, a city official confirmed.

More than 100 fire fighters and emergency workers were deployed to the site, and the flames were quickly extinguished.

A witness, who was inside the building at the time, told reporters the building shook when the crash occurred.

The building then had to be evacuated, with everyone taking the stairs, not the elevators.

It’s understood multiple buildings nearby were also evacuated.

The incident isn’t believed to be an act of terrorism, though emergency services sprung into action, quick to reassure everyone.

The New York governor Andrew Cuomo said New Yorkers still have a high level of P.T.S.D. following the 9/11 tragedy.

He told reporters his mind “goes where every New Yorker’s mind goes” when he hears news of a plane or helicopter hitting a building.

No other injuries were reported in the incident.

Petrol Pumps

Gold Coast drivers enjoy cheapest fuel in SEQ

NEW figures released today by RACQ have revealed the Gold Coast has taken the crown as the cheapest spot to fill up the tank in southeast Queensland.

The Club’s Monthly Fuel Price Report found the average price for regular unleaded petrol on the Gold Coast during May was 146.2 cents per litre (cpl), compared to 147.6 at Ipswich, 149.8 in Brisbane and 153.6 on the Sunshine Coast.

RACQ spokesperson Lucinda Ross said Gold Coast drivers had enjoyed the cheapest fuel in south east Queensland every month so far in 2019.

“Gold Coast motorists certainly have reason to celebrate with not only bowser prices lower than other centres, but the retail margins charged by local service stations fairer than those in many other parts of the State,” Ms Ross said.

“The indicative retail margin on the Gold Coast was 8.2cpl last month, 7.1cpl and 4.2cpl lower than it was on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane, respectively.”

As the south east market reached the bottom of the price cycle, Ms Ross reminded drivers across the region of the savings they could make if they shopped around for the best deals.

“Our message to drivers is simple – only fill up at the servo selling for the lowest price and aim to pay no more than 135cpl while they’re cheap.”

Motorists can use RACQ’s Fair Fuel Finder to find the cheapest deals their area.

To view RACQs full Fuel Price Report for May, click here.